I read two stories in the e-zine Mysterical-E this week. Death by Discussion by Lyn Fraser caught my attention with the opening. Death by sofa bed. Many of us have suffered an uncomfortable night on a lumpy fold-out mattress. This one proves deadly for the unfortunate Raymond.
The premise is a book club arranging to have a murder mystery weekend at a cabin. The story opens with the discovery of the murder victim, then goes back in time to the formation of the group, and the actions that bring them to the present moment.
Everyone has a motive to kill Raymond. When a snowstorm traps the participants in the cabin, the story becomes a locked room situation. A fun traditional mystery, Death by Discussion invites the reader to puzzle out the clues to figure out who murdered Raymond in the sofa bed.
The second story was Investment Opportunities by Sophia-Karin Psarras. Darker in tone, there were layers to the story that unfolded gradually. Recently widowed Joe Lookly, a police officer, investigates the death of an investment company sales manager. As the trail leads in an unexpected direction, Lookly connects the threads to his wife's recent death.
For a short story, there is a lot going on, but the author does not lose focus. Sections of dialogue and spare descriptions keep the action moving. The reader learns a lot about Joe Lookly. I found myself not just wanting him to solve the mystery, but also to find peace about his wife's death.
It's been a while since I read Mysterical-E. I'll be checking in on the magazine more often.
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